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Know your food

On eating  natural, organic

No matter what type of diet someone follows, whether they eat meat, don’t eat any meat, eat dairy or none at all, their diet can still be all-natural and organic. Many responses to eating only natural and organic food may be that it’s too hard or too expensive, but some research shows that these beliefs may not be valid.

Barbara Sustick, culinary chef and instructor at the Monadnock Cooking School in Peterborough, said in a recent interview that it’s important to know what you’re eating and where it came from. “It’s not okay to just eat chemicals,” Sustick said. “No matter what diet you have, it has to be chemical-free. Organic in the long-run is not more expensive.”

She offers some tips for going natural and organic.

Buy less but more often

One contributing factor fueling the belief that natural eating is more expensive is that people buy too much food that they don’t use. “They say organic’s too expensive and they have all this food in their fridge and cabinets sitting there, and they don’t need it,” Sustick noted. “People need to learn to cook, and don’t buy the already prepared stuff. Instead of buying an expensive box of something, you have got to make it yourself.”

She said it takes a conscious effort to make this change and it starts with shopping. Sustick said it is better for people to shop for food multiple times a week. “I think people a lot of times buy more than they use,” Sustick said. “That’s the way things are marketed. Make your menus, and buy what you need. Don’t do random shopping.”

The food landscape

It’s important to read food labels and know the source of the food you buy.

“You can join a farm. There are lots of local producers of milk and cheese, and you can buy local frozen meat, too,” Sustick said.

Although farmers markets are prevalent in this region, come wintertime, one may think the access to local, natural food is temporarily gone. Local farmers Amy Trudeau and Dan Knisell of New Boston, who sell their produce at the Peterborough Farmer’s Market, say winter produce is gaining in popularity.

“Keep an eye out for more winter farmer’s markets popping up,” Knisell said in a recent interview at the market.

He also said he’s reassured by eating natural food: “It personally gives me a sense of knowing what I’m putting in my body. All the chemicals can’t be good for your body.”

Trudeau noted the Peterborough market continues into winter and will be hosted at the Peterborough Community Center at 25 Elm St. in the old National Guard Armory, beginning Wednesday. The last outside market of the season was Oct. 16, but the market will go back outside to Depot Square in the middle of May.

Brain eating versus body eating

Sustick said that eating all-natural foods will help a person learn how to listen to their body better and know what it needs. “Learn to develop your own intuition and listen to your body,” Sustick said. “Don’t listen to your brain. Brain eating will make you sick.”

By brain eating she means buying what you think you want to eat, instead of what your body needs you to eat.

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